When playing an 11-sided soccer game, your team has one goalkeeper and 10 players to distribute on the field in the best way possible. Putting players in positions keeps the team orderly and helps players spread out and cover their part of the field. Teams use several formations, depending on whether they want to focus on offensive or defensive strength.
The most common soccer formation used around the world today is known as the 4-4-2. This formation has four defenders, four midfielders and two forwards. It is easy for older youth players to learn because the positions are well-defined and straightforward, and many college and professional teams use it as well. In this formation, the four defenders can either be in a straight line or can line up with a stopper in the front center and a sweeper in the back center. Having a sweeper is helpful when playing against fast teams.
When an opposing team has a particularly strong offense, soccer teams often play an even more defensive formation by moving one of the forwards back. They can either play a 4-5-1 formation or a 3-6-1 formation. In the 4-5-1, instead of having a second forward, teams play a defensive midfielder. The midfielders on the wings and one or more of the center midfielders can join the forward on the front line on offensive drives. The 3-6-1 formation is popular with German teams and includes four center midfielders, two who play more offensively and two who play more defensively.
Teams that have a strong set of defenders or who are playing against a team with a weak offense might want to set up with a more offensive formation. Usually, a team will switch to a 4-3-3 formation, moving one of the center midfielders up to a center forward position. This makes it easier to get together a scoring drive because one more player can receive passes at the front. Another option is a 3-5-2 formation, which provides up to seven offensive players.
The best formation depends largely on the skills of the team members and the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing team. Coaches need to be flexible and willing to adjust their formation to face particular opponents or to compensate for a key player’s injury. Some coaches even change formations in the middle of the game in an effort to come out with a win. However, youth soccer coaches should use no more than two soccer formations to avoid confusing the players.
The U.S. Youth Soccer organization is a nonprofit agency that uses the sport of soccer to ignite a youth’s physical, emotional and mental growth. The American Youth Soccer Organization provides youth soccer programs in a fun, family environment. Both organizations have established similar set lengths of time for youth soccer games. In addition to the regular soccer games, there are also small-sided soccer rules providing for a smaller field and fewer players.
For youth younger than 6 years old, the AYSO recommends two 10-minute halves with a five- to 10-minute break between. US Youth Soccer uses quarter periods for youth younger than 6 and recommends four six-minute quarters. If the game is tied, no overtime is required. Both organizations allow a small-sided game, with a smaller field and fewer players. Game times are the same for the age 6 and under players, but the field is between 20 and 30 yards long and 15 to 25 yards wide. There are no goaltenders.
For youth younger than 8 years old, AYSO uses two 20-minute halves with a five- to 10-minute halftime. US Youth Soccer uses four 12-minute quarters for less than 8 years of age. No overtime is needed if the game is tied at the end of the allotted time. Total game time is between 45 and 58 minutes. Small-side soccer is played on a smaller field, 25 to 35 yards long and 20 to 30 yards wide. The game is divided into four quarters of 12 minutes each. Like the under age 6 games, there are no goalies.
For youth younger than 10 years of age, the AYSO and US Youth Soccer require two 25-minute halves. For youth younger than 12 years of age, the AYSO and the US Youth Soccer require two 30-minute halves. For overtime in an under 12 game the US Youth Soccer requires two 10-minute halves. Total game time is 55 to 60 minutes for younger than 10 and 60 to 90 minutes for younger than 12. The small-sided game field gets larger as the players get older, up to 45-by-60 yards for under 10 players and 55-by-80 yards for under 12 players. The game times are the same as regular games for each age group.
The AYSO and the US Youth Soccer associations require two 35-minute halves for youth younger than 14 years of age. The amount of time allowed for half time is determined by the referees, between five and 10 minutes. If the game is tied, the US Youth Soccer uses two 10-minutes halves for the tie breaker. Total game time is between 75 and 90 minutes.
For youth soccer games in the under 16 age group, the AYSO and the US Youth Soccer use two 40-minute halves. At the end of regular play, if the game is tied, the US Youth Soccer requires two 15-minute halves be played as a tie breaker. Total game time is between 85 and 120 minutes.
During youth soccer games for ages, 17, 18 and 19, the AYSO and U.S. Youth Soccer require two 45-minute halves. According to US Youth Soccer rules, two 15-minute halves are added to the game if the score is tied at the end of regular play. Total game time is between 95 and 130 minutes.
A soccer game is just like 90 minutes of interval training — running full speed, slowing down when you reach the ball, weaving between defenders, and sudden stops to shoot or change directions, note the former pros at the online site Soccer Training Info. You must train your body to perform according to the demands of a soccer game.
At its simplest, interval training can involve laps around the field, alternating between light jogging and sprints as you reach a corner flag or the midfield line, suggests ExpertFootball.com. If you feel out of breath, slow down on the jogging segments to aid your recovery. Or try shuttle runs — stand on the goal line facing the field. Sprint to the six-yard line and back, and rest for 10 to 15 seconds. Sprint to the 18-yard line and back. Rest and sprint to the midfield line and back, and rest and repeat the 18-yard shuttle and finally the six-yard shuttle, with rests between all. One rep consists of five of these sprints.
Before engaging in interval training, work for six to eight weeks on aerobic exercises, such as running, swimming and cycling. Do this three to four days a week for 30 minutes, recommends the head men’s coach at Skidmore College in Vermont, in the book “The Soccer Coaching Bible.” During the early stages of interval training, have a rest-to-sprinting ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 to protect players from injury. Decrease the rest ratio to 1:1 as the players achieve higher levels of fitness.
Resting time is crucial for successful interval training, notes Soccer Training Info. Resting allows your muscles to recover from the intensity of sprinting. Muscles rely on the conversion of glucose to lactic acid to generate energy during exercise. Your rest period enables the muscles to recover from their strain, which can only be sustained briefly, as you inhale oxygen and metabolize more glucose.
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim published findings in 2001 based on 19 male elite junior soccer players. They divided the players into two random groups. One group undertook interval training consisting of four 4-minute runs at 90 percent to 95 percent of maximal heart rate, with a 3-minute rest in between, twice a week for eight weeks. The researchers found increases in the athletes’ maximal oxygen uptake. The players covered 20 percent more ground during a match compared to the control group. The researchers concluded that interval training enhanced work intensity, number of sprints and involvements with the ball during games.
While soccer requires technical and tactical skills, physical resources such as endurance, strength and speed play crucial roles, notes Jan Helgerud and colleagues, who conducted the Norwegian study. Interval training may also prove crucial — Helgerud’s literature review discovered studies finding that the rank of the best four teams in the Hungarian premier soccer division matched their ranking on average maximal oxygen intake. Similar results come from a study of teams in the Norwegian elite division.
The football visor became popular in the early 1990s for practical reasons: it helped to protect a player’s eyes from becoming injured on the field. However, football visors soon became a point of fashion with players using different facemasks to individualize themselves during the game. This eventually led to rule changes at both the collegiate and professional level to address the legal use of a helmet visor.
The National Federation of State High School Associations’ rules for high school level football state that eyeshields or visors must be made of a clear, rigid material. Tinted visors are not allowed. There are no exceptions to this rule. If an athlete has a medical need for tinted eye protection, he must wear tinted eyeglasses or athletic goggles.
The 2013 and 2014 NCAA rulebook contains two specific rules relating to helmet visors. Visors may only have the manufacturer or distributor label present. This label should be no larger than 2 and ? inches. The other rule states that eye shields must be clear, have no tint and are to be made from molded material. Players who are in violation of these rules will not be eligible to play unless their equipment is changed to meet these criteria. While the rulebook states that there are no exceptions, individuals with special eye conditions may get medical clearance and NCAA approval to bypass these rules.
In 1998, the NFL changed their equipment regulations to included tinted visors on their banned player equipment list, primarily to promote uniformity among team uniforms and equipment. The NFL also enforces a no-play policy for equipment that does not meet the guidelines. Although collegiate players are immediately eligible to return to play after the equipment is fixed, NFL players must sit out an additional down upon fixing the equipment. NFL players may also be fined for failure to adhere to equipment regulations. Medical clearance may be obtained and a waiver applied for athletes that have a proven medical need for a specific visor type. All of these rules are explicitly stated in the NFL rulebook.
There are typically three types of visors that are used: Clear visors, which are designed to prevent injury to the eyes while retaining full clarity of the field; Tinted visors, which help to reduce sunlight and protect the eyes from direct contact; and polarized visors, which filter UV rays to significantly reduce the glare of the sun.
The clear shield is commonly accepted for use in the National Football League and all divisions of NCAA football as it still allows for uniformity of the uniform. Visors are mounted to the underside of the facemask and often get covered with the moisture from sweat and breathing during gameplay. High moisture content on the mask reduces visual clarity and can make it tough to see plays you need to make. Some football visors are optionally created with an anti-fog coating to combat this problem. Visors are optional and can be removed by the equipment manager during the game if it impedes your ability to see the field.
Baseball is one of the most popular sports for kids, who play it in their backyards, at school, during picnics and in organized leagues. While there can be many rules for games played in official leagues, the basic rules of the game are very simple. Knowing the most common rules of baseball can help you have a fun, fair game and make sure everyone has a good time.
The most basic rule of baseball is that a batter gets three strikes before they are called out at the plate. A strike is considered swinging at the ball and missing, hitting the ball out of play or tipping the ball into the catcher’s glove. Hitting the ball out of play is called a foul ball. A foul ball cannot be the third strike, and a batter cannot be called out on strikes if he hits a foul ball. In many leagues, there is no limit on foul balls, and the batter can stay at the plate, hitting foul balls without being called out.
If the batter hits the ball and a player on the other team catches the ball in the air, the batter is out. If the batter hits the ball on the ground, she is out if a member of the other team gets the ball and touches the batter or first base before the batter touches first base. A force out is when a base-runner has to run to the base in front of her because one of her teammates is running to or on the base behind her. If a player on the other team touches the base-runner with the ball while she is running to the base, or they touch the base in front of her before she gets there, the base-runner is out.
A baseball game is made up of nine innings in most adult games.Typically, coach-pitch leagues for six to eight year-olds play six innings, nine and up play seven innings. An inning is over after both teams have a chance to bat, and each team makes three outs.
Players on the defensive team must allow a base-runner to go to a base without getting in her way. Even if they are playing a rolling ball, they cannot touch the base-runner or stand in her way to make the play, unless they have the ball; then, they can try to tag her. A base-runner cannot purposely interfere with a player trying to make a catch or field a ground ball, if the base-runner can easily avoid the defensive player. If the base-runner goes out of her way to get in the way of defensive player, she has interfered. Interference by a defensive players results in the base-runner being safe. Interference by a base-runner results in the base-runner being out.
Sweatbands are made of absorbent material like terrycloth, but the bulky fashion faux pas of years past has given way to sleeker versions that can, at a stretch, be called a fashion accessory. The sweatband¡¯s most obvious benefit is also its stated purpose: Corralling sweat before it drips from your forehead into your eyes or down your neck. But that¡¯s not the only benefit you can reap from wearing sweatbands.
If you have long or medium-length hair, a good sweatband will help keep your hair out of your eyes as you exercise. Sweatbands also mitigate, at least somewhat, the sweat-logged hair that can result from intense exercise, giving you a better chance at going back to work without having to wash your hair or take a full shower.
Even the best forehead sweatband can only absorb so much perspiration. If you tend to sweat clear through your forehead sweatbands, or just don¡¯t like to wear them, you can wear sweatbands on your wrists instead. These thick, absorbent cuffs are like built-in towels. Just reach up and wipe your forehead, head and neck without pausing to break stride or fish a towel out of your pack.
According to “The New York Times,” wristbands were a hot trend in the NFL during 2008, but not to wipe sweat. Instead, players wore thin, absorbent sweatbands as a fashion statement, placed around their upper arms or, rarely, their wrists. Whether mimicking this fashion statement is beneficial or not is entirely up to your own discerning fashion sense.
You¡¯ll find sweatbands stitched into hats, particularly men¡¯s models, from Panama straw hats to construction hard hats. While these sweatbands do help keep sweat out of your eyes, they also help keep you cool during hot spells, help keep your hat on and absorb sweat instead of letting it leak into the hat.
Not just adults are overweight. Teenage obesity is a dangerous problem that can promote serious medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to shed excess pounds without counting calories or spending numerous hours in a gym. You can quickly lose weight by changing bad habits — and creating a few new positive ones.
Exercise for at least an hour every day to shed pounds quickly. You can exercise for 60 minutes straight — or break it up into shorter increments. Any type of physical activity counts such as dancing, jogging, riding a bike to school, shooting baskets at lunch or walking home instead of driving. You can also join a school sport or community program such as gymnastics or ballet. At home, stay active with chores or even interactive video games that are designed to get you physically moving.
Reduce your meal and snack portion sizes to quickly lose unwanted weight. Restaurants, school lunches and packaged foods are sometimes served in larger portion sizes, making it easy to overeat without even realizing it. Check the suggested serving size on food labels so that you don¡¯t end up eating two or more servings. It can take up to 10 minutes before you get the signal from your brain that you are full — so eat slowly and stop eating when you no longer feel hungry.
Eat breakfast every day. A nutritious breakfast can increase your metabolism, helping you to burn more calories throughout the whole day. Although high-fiber cereals and whole-wheat products are ideal, you can also snack on last night¡¯s dinner or on nuts and fruit. Breakfast can also keep you feeling fuller longer, preventing you from overeating at meal times or indulging in unhealthy snacks in between meals.
Avoid talking on the phone, watching TV, texting or playing video games while you eat. These types of distractions prevent you from hearing your brain¡¯s fullness cues. Instead, sit in the cafeteria or at the kitchen table during meals and snack breaks. Eat slowly, savoring every bite so that you feel satisfied even if you have less food on your plate than usual. Use silverware, taking time to cut up your food if possible — this will help you to focus on your food and make it last longer.
The right back in soccer is a fullback position that is known as a defensive spot. According to Expert Football.com, the right back or right fullback is positioned on the right side of the stopper or center fullback. The right full back has a wide variety of responsibilities on the soccer field and learning the nuances of the position can take some time and practice.
Cover the space to the right of the center fullback on defense. Expert Football.com says that the right fullback must cover the space along the entire flank and be fairly fast.
Mark or cover an opposing forward if they are in your area. Soccer Training Guide says that marking the forwards is your main task and that the right back’s focus is defense and you must sacrifice your offense for defense.
Run and push up the field to help on offense when it is required. Expert Football.com says that right backs get actively involved offensively by staying wide and making overlapping runs to spread the defense apart. Basically, the fullback sometimes adds in on the offensive side during aggressive plays as an extra player for the other team to worry about.
Often referred to as Americas pastime, baseball has millions of fans spanning generations and has provided dynamic entertainment around the world for more than a century. Some of the reasons that people are drawn to the game can be traced to those defining characteristics that set baseball apart.
Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo points out in the book “Baseball: An Illustrated History” by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns that one of the essential elements of baseball is that it doesn’t have a clock, unlike most other sports. Regardless of how far behind a team falls in a game, they will not run out of time to come back. A team can continue to play and add runs to their total in any given inning for as long as they keep from making three outs. Football, basketball, hockey and soccer all limit teams’ opportunities with a clock, but baseball is literally timeless.
Bill James points out in his book “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract” that no other sport is more driven by statistics than baseball. While every sport uses statistical information to rate player performance, baseball features dozens of stats often used in combination with one another to rank the value of one player against another. From something as simple as overall batting average to far more obscure numbers such as a player’s average with runners in scoring position with less than two outs in the seventh inning or later, numbers are always a part of the way we look at baseball.
Basketball teams can put the ball in the hands of their best scorer one possession after another. Football teams can direct the offense to incorporate players that serve as their most potent weapons as often as they like. The book “Baseball: An Illustrated History” points out that while baseball always has a multitude of stars, they only come to bat once every nine times in a game and can only play one position on the field at a time. Consequently, a complete team effort is necessary to win consistently in baseball.
“Baseball: A History of America’s Favorite Game” by New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey acknowledges the way in which baseball players, no matter how far removed from the early days of the game, are measured against the performance of those that have gone before them. Batting .300 is an important distinction, for example, because the best players of previous eras established that as a standard of offensive achievement. Consequently, baseball players of any era find themselves in competition with the memories and accomplishments of those who came before.
James writes about the multitude of strategic decisions that must be made in each and every baseball game. Not unlike a chess match, baseball allows time for reflection after one team makes a move in which the opposing team can consider and ultimately decide how to respond. A left-handed pitcher brought into a game to face an upcoming left-handed hitter may result in the team at bat pinch-hitting for the left-hander with a right-handed batter. Of course, that’s one less player the team at bat has on their bench for later in the game. Like chess, there’s always more than one consideration for any given move.
Warming up should be a given in anyone’s pre-workout routine. Typically, you may hop on the treadmill, bike or elliptical for a few minutes to increase your heart rate and get blood flowing to your muscles. You might even perform a few static stretches for those muscles that seem extra tight.
Sure, that’s better than not doing any warm-up at all, but there’s a much more effective way to prepare for your workout and see better results.
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Athletes have used dynamic warm-ups for decades. If you’ve ever attended a football, basketball or baseball game and arrived a little early, you might have seen the players hopping, skipping and jumping across the court or field. They do this because the movement patterns and exercises performed in a dynamic warm-up are drastically better than just going for a jog.
The goal of a warm-up is not just to get the body warm, but also to invigorate your mind and fire up and activate all of the muscles and joints in your body to reduce the risk of injury and to allow you to perform at peak efficiency during your workout.
When your body has a chance to recruit more muscle, muscle fibers and joint flexibility for any workout, you’re better able to generate maximal power, in turn increasing performance. Performing specific mobility drills allows your mind to tell your muscles to get ready for the movements in your workout.
Performing mobility and flexibility drills through sport-movement patterns in a dynamic warm-up will allow your body to overcome muscular imbalances and maintain overall fitness. You’ll not only increase your core temperature and improve muscle activation, but you’ll also improve your range of motion. This helps you perform better and prevent injury during your workout.
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Exercise selection is key: Each exercise you do affects a specific muscle. Neglecting any critical muscles in your dynamic warm-up can hinder your performance. Every dynamic warm-up should have at least one exercise for each part of your body, including movement patterns needed for your sport or activity.
Perform each exercise for 20 yards each:
Light skip: Get skipping like you’re a kid. Quick skip: Just like an old-fashioned skip, but accelerate the speed and foot quickness. High-knee run: Just like it sounds — pull those knees up and get running.
Butt kicks: Kick your heels to your butt with quick repetitive movement as you move forward. Frankenstein walk to hip swing: As you move forward, swing each leg up high, keeping it straight, as you step.
Cariocas: Move laterally by stepping to the side as you twist your hips front to back. Knee hugs: Grab your leg under the knee and pull it up as you move forward. Lunge reach to plank-lunge reach: Get into a forward-lunge position and place your hands on the inside of your foot, resist shoulder to knee to open up the hip, take the outside hand and reach up and look. Hold two seconds, place your hand back down to rock the hips back to a hamstring stretch. Repeat with other leg.
Side lunges: Step to the side into a lunge, come back to original position, repeat on other side. Inchworm with push-up: Walk your hands out with your legs straight, perform a push-up, step up with your feet to meet your hands and repeat. Arm-circle skips: Do a basic skip with arm circles forward and backward. Ankle flips: One foot is on the heel and one foot on is the ball of the foot; move forward alternating heal to ball of foot in a quick fashion.
Glute bridges: Lying on your back, lift your hips off the ground with your arms across your chest to full extension using glutes and hamstrings. Hard-style plank: This version requires enough tension that it is only possible to hold it for brief periods (10 to 30 seconds). A standard plank lacks this tension and can be held indefinitely. Nothing below the shoulders should be relaxed. Y’s: Lie on your stomach in the prone position, thumbs up, arms straight out in a ¡°Y¡± formation and lift your arms from your shoulder blades.
A dynamic warm-up is a small investment that will get your muscles fired up to help you make the most of your workout.
Readers — Do you do a dynamic warm-up before your workouts? Do you feel like it helps you have a better workout? Do you do any of the moves mentioned above? What are some of your go-to warm-up moves? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Lisa Reed, M.S., CSCS, is a USA Fitness Champion, IFBB Pro, personal trainer, educator and motivator. She is also the owner of Lisa Reed Fitness, LLC, where she leads a team of in-home personal trainers in the Washington, D.C., area. Lisa and her team design online fitness and nutrition programs for clients around the world. She has trained hundreds of elite and professional athletes, including tennis player Monica Seles. She was the first female strength coach at the United States Naval Academy and trained top athletes as a strength coach at the University of Florida.
For more information on Lisa, visit LisaReedFitness.com and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.